Long-time head Football Coach Sonny Lubick will have a role at Colorado State University as long as he wants one, CSU President Larry Penley said today.
"Sonny, Carol Jo, and their family have been outstanding ambassadors for Colorado State and Rams athletics for 14 years, and all of us at CSU respect and appreciate that," Penley said. "It is my clear expectation that this University will do right by Sonny Lubick in any negotiations about his future with the institution."
Recent news reports have focused on discussions between Lubick and Colorado State Athletic Director Paul Kowalczyk about the possibility of Lubick’s retiring as head coach. Lubick, for whom the field at CSU’s Hughes Stadium is named, was hired in 1993. He led the Rams to nine bowl games with 108-74 record and ended his fourth straight non-winning season Friday with a Rams win over Wyoming in the celebrated Border War.
"Without Coach Lubick, the Board of Governors and I would not have had reason to make the tremendous investments in athletics that we have made. The foundation that Coach Lubick has provided for CSU justified the decision the Board and I have made to support a very significant increase in the athletics budget and the construction of two new athletics facilities."
Sonny’s contributions to CSU are not limited to the playing field, however, Penley said. He noted that Lubick has helped to engender strong school spirit and a sense of campus pride, while also being active and engaged in the community.
"We’ve been very fortunate to have a coach like Sonny at the helm of our football program for a decade and a half," Penley said. "He has built a program based on character, teamwork, and student success, and he deserves to take great pride in the achievements of his team members and the team as a whole during his tenure. That’s not something anyone at CSU takes lightly in an era when college athletics are frequently in the spotlight for negative reasons."
Penley said he was aware of the retirement negotiations, which were not unexpected given the program’s record for the last four years. CSU students, boosters, and alumni have communicated to both Penley and Kowalczyk their growing frustration with the program’s performance.
He said he instructed A.D. Kowalczyk to discuss the situation with Sonny and reach a mutually acceptable agreement that would honor Sonny’s legacy and ensure his continued leadership on behalf of the institution.
"It is in no one’s interest for Sonny to end his head coaching career feeling anything less than honored and valued for all he has done for our students and Rams athletics," Penley added. "If that is his perception, for whatever reason, then clearly Paul Kowalzczyk has some work to do in continuing to outline a successful future for our football program and Sonny’s continued involvement with CSU."